Transfer Window: The Comings and Goings

Last we left you the transfer window had just opened and both teams were desperately needing reinforcements to help gain a strangle hold on the league.

Firstly we will look at Celtic who realistically have the stronger team to begin with and are the only team with an actual budget.  They also have the benefit of a higher reputation, due to Rangers having spent last season in the Championship. As such the quality of players available is much higher, leading to a frustrating window for Rangers.

Celtic – Outgoings

Leigh Griffiths – 5.75m Everton

Firstly let me begin by saying usually I would do everything in my power to keep Griffiths. He has very high technical skills (15) good long shots (17) and good finishing (16). However, he has conspired to miss training 3 times and has been an all around ass hole.

Scoring 5 goals in 23 appearances whilst Dembele has now scored 30 is in 34 is just not the way to make up for training when you feel like it. So he was shipped to Everton with very little fanare.

Celtic – Arrivals

Eduardo da Silva – 245k

Eduardo da Silva_ Overview Profile.png

Signed as a replacement for Griffiths, Eduardo formerly of Arsenal leg break fame arrives ironically injured. He cant play until the end of February but fulfills all of the same requirements as Griffiths for none of the hassle. Whilst his physical attributes would usually have me recoiling in fear, Tixi Taka cares nothing of such trivial matters as he is too busy distracted by his silky skills.

Will Keane – Loan – Future fee 725k

Will Keane_ Overview Profile.png

Signed on a loan initially Will Keane arrives to add some actual youth to the team. Geriatrics are nice because of their increased technical and mental attributes but the team also requires players we can mold to our liking. Tiki-taka works best when the culture is ingrained in the player and Keane’s relatively high technical attributes and room to grow allow this to be a good potential move.

Harry Wilson – Loan – no future fee

Harry Wilson_ Overview Profile.png

Signed to fill a short term wing crisis, Wilson would actually make a good permanent signing. He has high technique stats (16) good dribbling (15) and a decent first touch (14). Whilst his passing leads a lot to be desired (11) out on the wings this is not too much of an issue. At 19 years of age we may be able to secure a permanent signing in the future once the might of Celtic has been established.

Patrick Roberts – Loan extended until 2018

Patrick Roberts_ Overview Profile.png

The kids a genius what more do you want from me?


Rangers desperately needed a new CB, a new LWB and a few CMs, with the need for a prolific striker being somewhat diminished by Mason Bennett And Ousman Manneh remembering that they are actually supposed to score some goals.

Rangers – Outgoings

Literally nobody wants to sign this garbage don’t be silly


Rangers – Arrivals

Nigel Reo-Coker – Free

Nigel Reo-Coker_ Overview Profile.png

I know right? Who even knew he still existed. But I digress, Mister Muscle did consider Reo-Coker at  the beginning of the season however at the time our CMs had functioning bodies so he was passed over. Now however with achilles tendons snapping like twigs and an ability to play multiple positions, Reo-Coker is looking more attractive than that last girl on the dance floor at closing. Snapped up on a free and actually willing to play for Rangers the choice was a no brainer.

Tyrone Mings – Loan –  Monthly Fee- 14.75k – No Future Fee agreed

Tyrone Mings_ Overview Profile.png

Fast, tall, relatively strong, and with strong tackling, dribbling and crossing attributes, Mings represents the ideal signing for Rangers in the LWB position. Whilst still young there is literally no chance of him agreeing to a permanent move currently, and even if he would, Rangers have hopes and dreams in their bank account and nothing more. The loan deal will have to do for now.

Jordan Williams – Loan – 6kpm Fee – No future fee agreed

Jordan Williams_ Overview Profile.png

All physical stats above 10! The perfect Muscle signing. and not too shabby technical or mental attributes either… Similarly to Mings, has no interest in a permanent signing however I am actually quietly confident we may be able to change that in the future…

Dave Bulthuis – 66k

Dave Bulthuis_ Overview Profile.png

Finally an actual transfer! “Yeah but who is he?” I hear you ask, well, I have no idea either. But he is strong as a motherfucker and can play CB or LB. With a long throw to rival that of Rory Delap Rangers are well on their way to becoming the Scottish Stoke. Come at us Messi, there are now two places in Great Britain you’d be terrified of you little latin midget.


So that’s the transfer window, both teams have actually agreed a couple of end of contract signings that will strengthen the team for next season however as they cannot be used until then I don’t believe there is much point in revealing them just now.

So soak it in, we have strengthened both teams areas as best we can even if Rangers did not get the striker we would have liked. Stay tuned for the 30 game milestone update and for the run in for the title.

Rangers v Celtic

Rangers v Celtic_ Overview Overview

Well, well, well… Rangers really have struck the first real blow for Strength in the battle v Technique. The first meeting between the two sides ended in a 0-0 draw which whilst interesting wasn’t really telling, neither team had any players with full tactical familiarity, and if we are being honest, neither were close.

Yet here we are 21 games into the season and all players are now fully competent in the formations and ideologies being championed.

What is really interesting here is that Rangers had slightly more possession and Celtic committed the most fouls! It almost seems like the two decided to switch roles. Celtic initially took the lead here through who else but Moussa Dembele. Rangers however switched on the style just before half time with Bennett, who is obviously a fan of this blog, having read that he is garbage deciding to prove a point.

Mckay decided to take a day off from complaining about leaving to slot home a penalty whilst Hyndman decided to justify his loan move to score the final goal.

To add insult to injury, Kieran Tierney picked up a hamstring injury and is now out for the next month.

The transfer window is now open, moves are about to be made. Will Rangers widen their now 2 point lead at the top and push on for the title? Stay tuned…

Part 3 – 20 Games in and a New Year

Welcome back! we are now 20 games into this challenge and things are starting to heat up with the Strength v Technique Challenge. 20 Games in and we have the tightest race I have ever seen.

Ladbrokes Premiership_ Overview Profile

As you can see Rangers and Celtic have virtually identical records. Celtic have drawn 1 more game than Rangers however what is interesting is the goals for and against. Celtic have a goal difference of 27, goals for 40 and goals against 13. Rangers meanwhile have a goal difference of 25, goals for 37, goals against 12.

Now if you cast your minds back to the original post of this series, we have the teams playing extremely different formations. Celtic with their wide 4-3-3 and Rangers with a much more defensively oriented 3-5-2.

What this means however is that neither strength nor technique is shining particularly brighter than the other.

So how best to decide which policy is doing better so far? Well I think the smartest move here is to firstly look at the managers, and then the players that have been signed to fit into the assigned systems.


Ladbrokes Premiership_ Awards Award Winners

According to the managers we have Mister Muscle performing slightly better in his role with 2 manager of the months to Tixi Taka’s 1. However Decembers has yet to be revealed so things could be evened up soon.


The past 10 league fixtures of the teams have Rangers being slightly less consistent (W8, L2, D0) than Celtic (W8, L1, D0) however Celtic have managed to get their glorious victory over Barca reversed into a 7-0 thrashing. This fucking game just can not let you have any long lasting joy can it?

Players Signed


Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane_ Overview Profile

Geriatric Robbie Keane is proving to just as immobile as advertised however with a average rating of 6.89 and 5 goals over 16 games (6 as a starter) we cant be too unhappy with his performances. Leigh Griffiths is throwing tantrums that would make a two year old jealous and so having Keane as a backup to Dembele has been extremely helpful.

Speaking of Dembele, he is my boyfriend, he has scored an outrageous 25 goals in 29 games and hasn’t even hinted at wanting to leave. If only Griffiths had an ounce of that loyalty.

Carlos Martins

Carlos Martins_ Overview Profile

This man has been truly stealing a living. He has 1 assist and 1 goal in 17 games for the club. You may think that isn’t terrible for a 34 year old DLP but both of those occurred in a frankly ludicrous debut which he has been living off ever since. Somehow scraping an overall rating of 7.00 that I am truly in disbelief at. His attribute are getting better however so I cannot quite put my finger on why I hate him so much.


Jose Goncalves

Jose Goncalves_ Overview Profile

Whilst reports that opposition strikers have taken to calling him “Daddy” go unconfirmed, what can be confirmed is that this man is Rangers signing of the season.

A ludicrous 7.26 rating over 26 games is completely deserved. He has been just outstanding, signed on a free transfer and an ever present, Goncalves has even chipped in with 2 goals. I’d marry cheat on Dembele with him to be honest.

Elimane Coulibaly

Elimane Coulibaly_ Overview Profile

A decent target man, 6.96 rating, 3 goals and 4 assists. Would probably be my first choice target man if he could hold him self away from the physio room.

Mason Bennett

Mason Bennett_ Overview Profile

Whilst still young Mason Bennett has been inconsistent even by youth player standards. Signed on loan from Derby he scored from his own half in his second game for the club and has been on holiday ever since. Don’t let the 7 assists fool you. 4 game in his last game.

Ousman Manneh

Ousman Manneh_ Overview Profile

Now here’s a wonderkid for you! Signed on loan from Bremen, Manneh is Rangers top goal scorer with 12 goals. Whilst he has 7 goals from two match, it is his all around player that is most pleasing. A 7.20 rating is completely deserved and he seems to be much happier when played with a run of games, an impact sub he is not.

What’s next?

So there we have it, we are two days away from the transfer window and improvement is needed in both teams squads. Celtic are in dire need of a right back and new goal keeper. Rangers however require a few more signings. A Cb and LWB are the priorities however we would not say no to a couple of new CMs and even a prolific goalscorer (to be fair who wouldn’t?).

The interesting part is this though. Celtics board have just randomly gifted a new 6.5million transfer budget injection, Rangers board are hoarding money like Coulibaly does pain pills. The next month’s transfer window could prove to be the swinger in the title race.

Oh and the eagle eyed viewers out there may have noticed, the next fixture is the big one, Celtic v Rangers…


Part 2 – 10 games in

So when we left you Tixi Taka and Mister Muscle had wrapped up their preseasons in a nice little bow and stood ready to begin the brand new Ladbrokes (seriously?) Premiership season.

Now we stand ten games into the season and so far we can conclude that neither technique nor physicality reigns supreme. Celtic lie in second place courtesy of goals scored (20) whilst Rangers sit with an identical record (W6 D3 L1) and have conceded 3 less goals than Celtic (4 as opposed to Celtics 7).

Ladbrokes Premiership_ Overview Stages

Incredibly Rangers opened the season without conceding a goal until their 5th match, ironically against our very own Celtic. This hasn’t slowed down either, Rangers have 8 clean sheets in their opening 10 games.

Celtic v Rangers_ Analysis Post-Match

Celtic also have the press wanking themselves dry over their goalscoring exploits however, suggesting that technique provides more goals, whilst strength provides the clean sheets.

Tixi Taka_ Inbox-2

However the opening fixtures saw Celtic struggle with the demands of a particularly rough Champions League group containing Barcelona, Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donestk and initially conceded a 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen who have started the season particularly strongly. As such Mister Muscle managed to pick up manager of the month after a strong opening which saw James Tavernier win goal of the month for a free kick scored in a 2-0 win against Kilmarnock (Mason Bennet got the other from deep inside his own half which apparently wasn’t even good enough to make it into the top three goals of the month, Scottish football is nothing if not lavishly entertaining…apparently.)

We highlighted some of the transfers and showed Celtic had procured Robbie Keane for his retirement tour and Carlos Martins, a 35 year old Portuguese with an outrageously sweet right foot, however whilst Keane is producing (4 goals and counting) with both teams signings being only free transfers (aside from Bennet and Manneh of Rangers who came in on loan). However in the opening matches it is Rangers signings who are providing the better showing as Celtic are relying on the lavishly talent Dembele (15 goals) to win their matches.

  • Bennet (scorer of Xabi Alonso’s wet dreams) is a loan signing from Derby procured solely on his physical gifts and is providing a work horse of a targetman (3 goals so far)
  • Jose Goncalves a 31 year old tank of a CB proving to own a cannon of a throw in and chipping in with numerous assists
  • Elimane Coulibaly a 20 strength targetman who when fit (when being the operative word here) has provided a good amount of assists and a couple of goals.

Both teams have been eliminated in the league cup however with Rangers making it to the semi finals.

What I will leave you with however is two incredible results so far.

Tixi Taka_ Inbox

That’s right, Celtic thrashed the Might Barcelona at home. They could have won by even more if Scott Sinclair would stop making a mockery of his extremly high penalty taking attributes.

But most impressively is this Philipe Senderos has a rating of 7.38. That’s THE Philipe Senderos. The balding eagle has some how bundled in Goncalves outrageously long throws on multiple occasions and is fast becoming one of our main bois. Good on you Philipe, don’t fuck it up.


Strength v Technique – What wins?

Part 1 –

Football is a curious game, for years we have watched Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo score a frankly absurd amount of goals against the highest levels of competition in the Champions League. But, at least from a common English expression, one doubt has always remained, “but could they do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?”

That’s right, despite routinely making europe’s greatest defenders look like Titus Bramble when faced with literally anything other than a stationary ball, Messi and Ronaldo’s technical brilliance has constantly been doubted against the physical gifts of Stoke’s toughest defenders.

So this gave me an idea. After consistently playing football manager games the regular way, (buy good players – win – see no actual profit) I decided to experiment with how I played the game. Firstly I attempted to win the Champions league with players from my youth team. Nailed it. Then I tried to win championships in 5 different leagues. Nailed it. Win the premier league with a league 2 team? Nailed it. Moneyball? better believe I nailed it. This brought a lot more challenges and joy to a game I had always enjoyed but had grown tired of over the years. So now I have embarked upon my newest challenge. Strength v Technique what wins?

To begin this challenge I needed to set some ground rules, so for your understanding, here they are:

  1. I will control both teams.
  2. One team will sign players based on physical attributes only
  3. The other will sign players based upon technical ability only
  4. I will organise all tactics and formations myself – no plug and play
  5. First to win the Champions League wins!

So yeah there we go pretty easy stuff really so on to picking the teams. Seeing as we need two teams of relatively similar ability that can attract the players I need immediately whilst also allowing for growth to be shown through match performances (this challenge would be pretty useless using Real Madrid and Barcelona for instance, they already win Champions Leagues) I looked to Scotland. Celtic and Rangers are traditionally big fish within their extremely small pond, however, recently swimming in the waters of the Champions League has been a leap (splash?) too far.

So Tixi Taka, the technical coaching genius, and Mister Muscle the fitness coaching guru, have set up shop at Celtic and Rangers respectively.

Tixi Taka –

Tixi Taka_ My Profile Profile

Mister Muscle –

Mister Muscle_ My Profile Profile

As you can see TT and MnM have had their technical coaching and fitness coaching maxed out respectively. This will allow me to ensure each team has 5 star coaching in the correct categories for the challenge. Tixi will play a possession based gamed based on a wide 4-3-3, I have purposely avoided a traditional 4-3-3 formation as all Football Manager players will know, 4-3-3 is OP fam.

Celtic_ Overview

Look at all that sweet sweet possession play.

MnM however will line up with the brick wall that is 5-3-2. His players have been instructed to ‘get stuck in’ and to press like their lives depend on it. Since he is signing players based on physical gifts alone, this heavy pressing game should not be an issue for the V02 max cheats that are my Rangers team.

Rangers_ Overview

There are going to be some red cards this year…

Transfers were based on different criteria for each manager. Things like age and money were not issues, that said I’m not trying to bankrupt either club(!) or to disrupt the squads with too much movement in the first transfer window.

Tixi was interested in players with great flair, technique or other technical skills, if a player is essentially a 90 year old narcoleptic with regards to their physicals but could land a ball on a penny from 50 yards he was throwing his cheque book on the table and asking them to pick a number.

Celtic Transfers –

Robbie Keane has returned and hes not bringing his runners with him.


M squared however as decided to forgo any sort of technical wizardry for the old faithful, abs, and lots of them. Due to Rangers having a bank account that looks relatively similar to mine after ‘UberEats Friday’ has taken it’s toll on me, we (they*) were restricted to loans and free transfers. However there is some meaty bois in this intake and I’m not mad at our acquisitions.

Preseason went relatively as expected, with only a couple of expected losses to bigger opposition. Note due to Celtic beginning the season in the Champions League they could be seen as starting this challenge ahead of Rangers. However as brilliant a manager as I am (no seriously stop laughing at the back there) I highly doubt I’m going to be taking Celtic to an improbable Champions League title with a line led by a geriatric Robbie Keane so I imagine we will have a few seasons for things to even out.

So let’s start this season shall we….

The Journey Begins

So here it is, my first ever attempt at a blog. After years of playing and coaching sports I have finally decided to put it all down in writing.

The beautiful thing about sports is that regardless of the results, every match has its stories. It is these stories that have inspired me to put my experiences down onto paper…print…pixels?

This blog will contain my experiences coaching real life football (or soccer for those who feet coming into contact with balls that aren’t of the spherical variety) and also my free time playing Football Manager. That’s right, to get away from my day job I play a simulated version of work, it’s the athletic equivalent of a train driver playing Train Simulator at work, except sometimes I’m on time for work.

For the all of the real life posts names will be changed to ensure anonymity.

So pull up a chair, or put down the toilet seat, and read on so I can have at least some company in a journey that is both equal parts frustration and sheer unadulterated joy.


If you don’t go too far you will never go far enough in life – Chael Sonnen